Although it will still be a long spell spent on the sidelines when everything is said and done, Joe Corvo seems to be healing more quickly than anticipated.
The defenseman, who has missed the Hurricanes’ last 14 games with a leg laceration, skated on his own prior to Monday’s practice at the RBC Center. While he’s not light years ahead of the 8-12 week prognosis he was given on November 30 by any means, he also wasn’t expected to take the ice so soon.
“We think he’s progressing faster than we originally expected,” said coach Paul Maurice. “I’m saying two and a half months instead of three. He’s still an awfully long way away from playing, but he is ahead of where we had thought he might be.”
As a reference point, if the Hurricanes cleared Corvo to play exactly eight weeks after the injury, that would have him back for the January 27 game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. He could then play in the team’s final 10 games prior to the Olympic break in February.
Including Corvo, no player currently listed on our injury report took part in Monday’s team practice. In addition, Joni Pitkanen and Ray Whitney did not practice but should be fine for tomorrow’s session. Scott Walker will be out for some time, as he is expected to undergo surgery to correct an upper-body concern sometime this week.
Maurice said the team will have to wait and see on Erik Cole and Chad LaRose, both of whom were hoping would return in time for Thursday’s game at Nashville.
“LaRose and Cole we had hoped would skate sometime this week, but we’re not sure that’s going to happen yet,” he said.
Unless any two of Cole, LaRose and Sergei Samsonov are unable to play by Thursday, the team will again need to turn to Albany for reinforcements. Zach Boychuk and Jiri Tlusty filled that role in Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win against the Rangers, but were later reassigned due to salary cap and budgetary concerns.
Maurice said he would have no problem recalling one or both of them again if needed. While each played around 10 minutes or less on Saturday, they both played well, including an assist from Tlusty on a first-period Tom Kostopoulos goal.
“I was comfortable with Boychuk, and each time he comes up he’s more comfortable with the puck,” said Maurice. “Jiri has some experience, and it shows. He can play left wing or right wing shift after shift and he doesn’t have any problems systems-wise.”